The Am Issue: Thaynan Costa

Three weeks into what was supposed to be a quick weeklong trip from Portugal to Barcelona, Thaynan Costa admits that he doesn’t want to go home anytime soon. For the first time on this epic little road trip, the rain finally made itself comfortable, which in turn made it the perfect time to hop on the phone with Thaynan for our 2016 Am Issue. After a few fun games of phone tag (due to my horrible math skills), we figured out the nine-hour time difference between us, got on the phone, and knocked this thing out from opposite ends of the world. One thing I learned very quickly was that every day is a seemingly good day when you’re Thaynan Costa. Imagine that.-Brian Blakely
Photos by Dave Chami

Switch Slappy
Switch slappy. San Jose, CA. (click to enlarge)

What’s up, Thaynan, what are you doing out in Barcelona right now?
I’ve been out here for about three weeks—me and my friends did a road trip from Portugal to here. We were supposed to stay for a week, but we just stayed here longer. I don’t want to go back home [laughs]. It just started raining, but the last couple days were good. There was sun and we skated a lot.

So you’re in Barcelona but started the trip out in Portugal—is that where you live?
Yeah, I live in Lisbon, but I come to Barcelona a lot. My girlfriend is from here, and I stay at one of my good friend’s house every time I come here.

How often do you get out to the States?
Only once or twice a year. I was just there for three months at the beginning of the year. Most of the time I just stay with Louie [Barletta]. Sometimes I go down to LA and stay with Felipe [Gustavo] or Massimo [Cavedoni], or sometimes I go to Sacramento and stay with Matt [Mullen] and Blue [Turner]. I just keep moving every time, trying to keep productive so I can just come back to Europe and stay here for a little bit.

Who are some of your favorite ams?
Fuck [laughs]. I saw that question and can’t think of names! I really like Didrik Galasso; he’s one of my buddies. Let me think… Joey Guevara too. Joey’s tight.

What about any ams out there who you think should be pro?
Tiago [Lemos] just turned pro, huh? Fuck [laughs]. I really like Joey [Guevara]. Joey’s just been around for so long, for me at least. I’ve been watching him skate for a really long time, so I think he could be one that should be pro.

Kickflip
Kickflip. Oakland, CA. (click to enlarge)

How’d you get hooked up with enjoi, and what’s the best part about riding for such a tight-knit company like that?
It was just Louie. I met him out in Barcelona back in the day when I used to live here. I stayed in this apartment and just skated a lot and met him, and he just started hooking me up with boards. After like two years, or after oververt dropped, was when they told me I was on the team. My favorite part is just that we’re all friends and homies, and we can say what we think to them and Louie will listen to us. We have an open relationship. It’s easy to say what we like and what we don’t like.

That’s rad. So you were just getting flowed boards for a while and then eventually got on?
Yeah, way back I used to get boards from enjoi in Portugal, and they stopped giving me boards because they didn’t have buyers back in Portugal at the distribution, but after a little bit—like only a week or two, it was super quick—I came to Barcelona and that’s when I met Louie and he just started giving me boards again. After about a year they flew me to San Jose and then I went on tour to China with the whole team, and after that Louie was like, “You should come to the [oververt] premiere.” They flew me out to the premiere, and when the video started, I didn’t know if I’d even have a trick or anything, so I was surprised to have a full part, like, “Welcome to the family.” I was just like, “Fuck yeah, thank you!” After that we just partied [laughs]. It was cool.

Your De La Calle/Da Rua DC part was really sick. That 50-50 step off push to 50-50 on that long, tall round bar was crazy. How’d the whole DC thing go down?
Thanks so much. I appreciate that you like that! Before, Gaston [Francisco] was the guy here in Europe and he helped me a lot. He was my friend and it was easy to talk with him. He doesn’t work for DC anymore, but after we filmed for that video I started talking to Jimmy [Astleford] a lot and Jimmy helped me out. It’s a good connection. I for sure skate more with the enjoi dudes, but I skate with the DC guys a lot. It’s cool, it’s a good connection. It’s just different. They’re a bigger company, so the relationship is different than enjoi. But I like it a lot.

You have a really unique bag of tricks and you tend to skate more obscure spots than most people. It looks like you’re always having fun. Where do you draw influence for your skateboarding?
I really like to watch old videos. I like the videos now too, but some are super cool and some are super boring. My favorite skaters from back then are like Ray Barbee, Mark Gonzales, Brian Lotti—I like a lot of guys from back then. Like Stereo’s A Visual Sound, Ethan Fowler’s part is amazing. Jason Lee’s skating is super good. I just get a lot of inspiration from old videos and try to do my own thing, not just something that other people want to see. In my mind, if I have something, I will try. Even if someone says, “Oh, that’s wack.” I don’t care. If I like it, that’s what matters.

“I’VE NEVER WORKED A DAY IN MY LIFE.”

Do you have any tricks that you can do way better switch than you can in your normal stance?
[Laughs] Yeah, switch heelflips. Regular ones are fucking hard! I always land primo. Yesterday at MACBA, out of every five I was trying, I could land one maybe. Switch heelflips are just way easier for me. I wish I could do a really good heelflip, but it’s just not for me [laughs].

Describe what a typical day is like for you. Do you have a normal job, or is it just skating?
I’ve never worked a day in my life. It’s good and bad because one day when I have to work, it’ll be a shock, you know? But I’m glad that skating can help me and I can live off it now. I just wake up—I live super close to the beach—so maybe I just take my bike to the beach and bike for a little bit. Maybe get breakfast with my friends or go downtown because I have a lot of friends who work there. A lot of my friends do artwork and have studios downtown, so I’ll just go spend time with them down there, draw with them a little bit. They’ll teach me some stuff, and once they’re done with work we just go skate. At nighttime, I go to the cinema a lot [laughs]. I don’t even care what movies, I just like to go there and sit and eat popcorn. Me and my friends do that a lot. Bowling too, at night. I just skate, draw with my friends, hang out, and I think that’s it. I have a lot of free time [laughs]. It’s different than when I go to the US because I’m not used to spending so much time in the car or straight to filming missions—it’s just a different type of lifestyle.

Sounds like a pretty mellow schedule though. That’s awesome. Are you working on any video projects right now?
Yeah, mellow. Right now I’m working on something with enjoi, but I don’t really know what it is yet. It’s just for the beginning of next year, but we aren’t sure yet. I’m trying to work something with DC too. Carson [Lee] has been hitting me up about a video part for this Am Issue, so just trying to get some tricks for that too.

thaynan-costa-wallie-boardslide
Wallie boardslide. Sacramento, CA. (click to enlarge)

Do your close friends or family ever trip out that you get to travel all over the world just to ride your skateboard?
My friends in the skate world, they understand it, but my friends not from the skate world, they don’t get it. I try to explain it, but they just don’t understand. Like to my girlfriend, I say, “Yeah, I have to go there or fly here,” and she’ll say, like, “We have plans for next week,” and I just say, “Sorry, I have to travel now” [laughs]. They trip out because people are just used to the routine: wake up, work their eight-hour job, study—all those things. For us, we just like to have our own schedule and no routine. I’m super glad and happy that I can live like that right now, you know?

Let’s pretend your first big professional check just came in the mail—what’s your first purchase?
Fuck [laughs]. I don’t know. My first big check? Maybe try to get all my close friends together on a road trip with them. Maybe save some money to buy a house or something like that. I would give a little part to my friends too [laughs].

What’s the best advice Louie Barletta has ever given you?
It’s just funny being around him. He just tells me to have fun, do my thing, and don’t think too much. Just keep skating and see what I can do with it. Do drawings, go to college, just do whatever. He just makes us laugh all the time.

More Am Issue Interviews:

Bobby De Keyzer

Dane Brady

Cole Wilson

Cyrus Bennett

Frankie Spears

Jake Anderson

Mikey Curtis